"Reinstatement of King Perempe in Kumase 1926."
date early : 1926-01-30.0.

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Political Figures and
Euro-African Political Relations

Kwaku Dua II was installed as king of Asante in 1884. He died of smallpox after a short reign of six weeks. His death plunged Asante into civil war. D-30.18.066 shows the king sitting in court surrounded by umbrella holders, sword bearers, drummers, and other court officials. To the right of the Asantehene, the famous Golden Stool lies on its own stool. The Golden Stool is the repository of the soul of the Asante nation and its possession confers legitimacy on an Asantehene. It is never sat upon. As the source of legitimacy for the Asante state and monarchy, the Golden Stool is a deity in itself; hence it is not sat upon like an ordinary stool. The installation of Kwaku Dua III (1888-1931), a younger brother of Kwaku Dua II, as king of Asante in 1888 ended a four-year civil war. From 1888, Prempeh I began to rebuild his kingdom, a development out of tune with the encroaching European imperialism. The British had declared the Gold Coast, south of Asante, a colony in 1874. After repeated invitations for Prempeh to accept British protectorate status were refused, British troops invaded Kumase in 1896. Black British troops perceived as more resilient in the Tropics were brought from the British West Indies to join the invading force (D-30.18.004). The British declared Prempeh dethroned. D-30.18.066 shows ex-king Prempeh in 1896, a more private picture of the king seated between his parents and surrounded by a few household members. Prempeh, his parents, the heir apparent (Prempeh's junior brother), and several important Asante chiefs were exiled by the British to Elmina in 1896, then to Sierra Leone, and finally to the Seychelles in 1900. The British invasion of Kumase in 1896 witnessed the tearing down of old sites and symbols of power and the erection of new ones to emphasize the change in regimes. D-30.18.049 shows the ruins of the royal mausoleum in Kumase torn down by British troops in 1896. British troops took away from this site a large brass pan (ayakesee) associated with Asante sovereignty. The British established a fort just behind the market place (D-30.18.011), where the Asantehene had traditionally held durbars. In D-30.18.001, Governor Hodgson meets with Asante chiefs. In one such meeting on 28 March 1900, Governor Hodgson demanded the Golden Stool in order to sit on it. His requested sparked "The Yaa Asantewaa War" of 1900-01, a major war led by the elderly queen of Ejisu. The Golden Stool was hidden by the Asante and only reappeared after the British in the early 1920s disavowed any intentions of acquiring it. Prempeh I was repatriated from the Seychelles in 1924 as a private citizen of Kumase. In his absence, the administration of Kumase had fallen apart. The British colonial policy of indirect rule had foundered in the Kumasi Division, which was missing its king. In 1926 Prempeh was reinstated as king of Kumase. D-30.62.002 shows the reinstallation of Prempeh I with the king surrounded by his courtiers and British colonial officials. The Asante confederacy and the position of Asantehene would be restored in 1935 under the reign of Prempeh I's successor, Prempeh II.